In honor of the playoff series between the Denver Nuggets and the Golden State Warriors, we’ll be looking at the life of Stephen Curry and how he emerged as one of the elite shooters in the NBA. Let’s go back in time to 1988.
Wardell Stephen Curry II was born on March 14, 1988 in Akron, Ohio. Yes, his parents decided to name him Wardell, probably to carry on the name. Stephen’s father Dell Curry is a former NBA player who played in the league for 16 years and averaged 11.7 points per game. Stephen was around the basketball court from a young age because of his dad’s career. He participated in shootarounds with his dad and was by his father’s team’s bench. Curry played high school basketball at Charlotte Christian School. At this school, he was named to the all-state and all-conference team as well as team MVP. During his years there, he led his team to three conference championships and three state playoff appearances. Stephen shot over 48% from 3-point range during his senior year. Stephen had a lot of success in high school, but because he was only 6 feet tall and 180 pounds, he was considered undersized. He only received offers from Davidson College, Winthrop, and Virginia Commonwealth. With no offers from any big schools, Stephen decided to bring his talents to Davidson.
In Stephen Curry’s first game in a Davidson uniform, Curry had 32 points, 4 assists, and 9 rebounds. His 21.9 points per game led the Southern Conference and was second in scoring among freshman, behind Kevin Durant. Durant would end up being the second overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft. Curry led Davidson to a Southern Conference tournament victory. In the semifinals of said tournament, Curry set the NCAA record for most 3-pointers with 113. Davidson entered the NCAA tournament as a 13 seed and played the University of Maryland. Though Davidson lost, Curry scored 30 points and received a standing ovation from the crowd after fouling out. As a freshman, Stephen was selected as the Southern Conference Freshman of the Year, first team All-Southern Conference, Southern Conference Tournament MVP, All-Tournament team, and All-freshman team.
In Curry’s sophomore season, he averaged 25.5 points per game to lead the Southern Conference and was fourth in Division I in scoring. Davidson ended the season at 26-6 and 20-0 in the Southern Conference. Davidson entered the NCAA Tournament as a 10 seed and played 7th seeded Gonzaga in the first round. Curry ended up dropping 40 points, 30 of them coming in the second half. Davidson went on to win the game 82-76. In the second round, Davidson faced a tough Georgetown team that had made the Final Four the year before. Curry scored 30 points, 25 of them coming in the second half as Davidson stunned Georgetown 74-70. In the next round, Davidson played third ranked Wisconsin. Curry scored 33 points and Davidson won 73-56. In the Elite Eight, Davidson lost to the eventual national champions, Kansas. Curry scored 25 points in that game and broke the single season record for most 3-pointers. Curry was named to the Associated Press’ All-America Second Team and the Most Outstanding Player in the Midwest Region in the NCAA Tournament. Overall, a very good sophomore season for Stephen.
Curry announced that he would return for his junior year to develop himself as more of a point guard. Some highlights of his junior year were a 30 point and 13 assist performance against Winthrop, and a 44 points against North Carolina State. Stephen eclipsed the 2000 point mark against Samford. In a win against Georgia Southern, Curry became Davidson’s all-time leading scorer. Davidson lost in the semifinals of the Southern Conference Tournament. This meant that Davidson needed an at-large bid to make the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately, Davidson was not selected to the tournament. They were selected to enter the NIT Tournament though, eventually falling the St. Mary’s. Curry was the NCAA scoring leader with 28.6 points per game. He was also selected by the Associated Press, USBWA (U.S. Basketball Writers Association), NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches), and Sporting News as a first-team All-American. Curry was a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award, an award given to the NCAA’s most outstanding player. He was selected as a first team Consensus All-American and a Wooden All-American. Curry opted out of his senior year at Davidson to enter the NBA Draft. In college, Stephen Curry averaged 25.3 points per game, 3.7 assists per game, 4.5 rebounds per game, and 2.1 steals per game.
The Golden State Warriors Selected Stephen with the seventh overall pick in the first round. Curry made his NBA debut on October 28, 2009 against the Houston Rockets. He had 14 points, 7 assists, and 4 steals. On February 10, 2010, Curry got his first career triple-double with 36 points, 13 assists, and 10 rebounds. On April 7, 2010, Curry almost got a quadruple-double with 27 points, 14 assists, 8 rebounds, and 7 steals. Curry was invited to play in the Rookie-Sophomore game and scored 14 points in the game. He also participated in the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout and finished second behind Paul Pierce. On the last game of the season, Curry scored 42 points against the Portland Trail Blazers. He finished in second place for Rookie of the Year voting behind Tyreke Evans but, he was unanimously selected to the All-Rookie First Team. The Warriors finished 26-56 and missed the playoffs.
In the 2010-2011 season, Curry missed 8 games with a sprained ankle. However, Curry won the Taco Bell Skills Challenge during the All-Star Weekend. Curry also received the NBA Sportsmanship Award. He scored 18.6 points per game with 5.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds. The Warriors ended up going 36-46 and missed the playoffs once again.
The 2011-2012 season was one shortened by the NBA lockout. The Warriors also had a new coach, Mark Jackson. For Stephen, the 2011-12 season was just a year full of injury. Curry only played in 26 of 66 games. In those games that he did play, he averaged 14.7 points and 5.3 assists. The Warriors went 23-43 and once again missed the playoffs.
The 2012-13 season was one for redemption for both Stephen Curry, and the Warriors themselves. Curry started off the year hot, averaging over 20 points a game in the months of November and December. However, he suffered yet another ankle injury and missed 11 games in January. On February 27, 2013, Stephen Curry went off. In Madison Square Garden, Curry scored 54 points, over half the Warrior’s points, but they still lost. In that game, Curry shot 11 of 13 from 3-point range. During the final game of the season, Curry made his 272nd 3-point shot, breaking the record previously held by Ray Allen. He averaged 22.9 points, 6.9 assists, and 4.0 rebounds, en route to leading the Warriors to a 47-35 record. The Warriors made the playoffs as the sixth seed, and are currently playing the third seed, the Denver Nuggets. The series is favoring the Warriors 3-2, but the Warriors could not make open shots in Game 5. Highlights of the series for Curry are his 30 point, 13 assist performance in Game 2, 29 point, 11 assist performance in Game 3, and his 31 point, 7 assist performance in Game 4 including 22 points in the third quarter alone. Curry did suffer another ankle injury in this series, but is playing through the pain. His game does look a little off, especially in Game 5. However, if the Warriors can make open shots, then they will easily win this series in Game 6.
Notes: Stephen Curry has never made the NBA All-Star Team, something that he deserves to make. Curry has made 644 3-pointers over his career. Watch out Ray Allen, if Curry can continue shooting 3′s at a rate of 272 per year, he will easily break Allen’s record. Stephen Curry has a brother, Seth Curry, who just finished his senior year at Duke University. Curry is definitely an aspiring player in the NBA. If he can stay healthy, the Warriors, and Curry, will be a deadly force in the NBA for years to come.